How to reduce customer claims by 60 percent

As a service professional, how many times have you heard that phrase after an appointment? Did you cringe a little when you read that?

We often see our customers paying out 100 percent of their damage claims. And for the ones that they do decide to fight, it often ends up in court. And most organizations have neither the money or the time to be dealing with situations like these.

Accidents happen, right? Of course, they do. That doesn’t mean that those damage costs ought to be leaving your pocket as a result. (Unless the shop really did do it, in which case that is not what I mean here.) What I mean is that in the marine industry, we are in a fairly unique position. A customer’s boat or yacht can be left with us for an extended period of time. When it comes to winterization, customers don’t necessarily see their boat come out of the water, and even if they do they go months without seeing their vacation vessel.

One approach taken by some organizations is that they do a walk around with the customer before they take a boat in for service or before it is winterized. Even if we do this with the customer, often they will forget over time, and we still end up with this debate of who’s damage is who’s. Even if we repair the damage, the customer still complains to others that we have damaged their boat and the service experience is tainted.

There are several options around this challenge. One that has been employed is to take photos of damage but this can be quite time-consuming. When taking a photo you also need to type out an explanation of what the photo is showing and you literally could have to take 20 plus photos on one appointment.

What my suggestion would be is to take a look at a video. In today’s day and age, taking a high-quality video can be done simply by sliding a smartphone out of your pocket and opening the camera app. So what does video give you that pictures don’t? Not only does video save time, but it is also a single file that can be time-stamped, archived, and shared.

What we see is when you use video, customer claims come down by 60 percent. By taking the video and sharing it with the customer, they feel their service provider cares that much more about their property. In turn, the customer’s experience in your service department is elevated. Photos can take 20 minutes to a half an hour by boat depending on the damage and we just don’t have that kind of time. A video walk-around typically takes three to four minutes, and you can verbalize any of the issues you find straight onto the video. If you take video on your phone, do not use the native texting application to send the video, because both Apple and Android will degrade the image and it will be very hard to see by the customer. If you send it by email, it will still get degraded but should still be clear enough to get the overall effect. Video is being used in many areas in business, particularly around marketing and sales, but service is where video can actually have the biggest financial impact.